The common book form during the period of Bible writing. The Scriptures were written and often copied on rolls or scrolls of leather, parchment, or papyrus. (Jer 36:1, 2, 28, 32; Joh 20:30; Ga 3:10; 2Ti 4:13; Re 22:18, 19) A scroll was made by gluing together pieces of such materials to form a long sheet, which was then rolled around a stick. For a very long scroll, a stick was used at each end and the scroll was rolled on both sticks toward the center. When about to read such a roll, a person unrolled it with one hand while rolling it up with the other until he located the desired place. After reading, he again rolled up the scroll.—For details as to material, size, and so forth, see BOOK.
Bears Witness to Jesus. Jesus Christ came to earth to do God’s will, as foretold within the Hebrew Scriptures, in “the roll of the book.” (Ps 40:7, 8; Heb 10:7-9) In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus opened the scroll of Isaiah and read the prophetic words about his anointing by Jehovah’s spirit to preach. Christ then rolled up the scroll, handed it to the attendant, sat down, and explained to all present: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” (Lu 4:16-21; Isa 61:1, 2) In fact, since “the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying,” all the scrolls of all the Scriptures and the public proclamation of the good news contained in the scrolls of the Christian Scriptures concerns Jesus Christ’s position and work in Jehovah’s purpose.—Re 19:10.
At the conclusion of John’s Gospel account, he said: “There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.” (Joh 21:25) John in his Gospel did not try to write it all, but he wrote only what was sufficient to establish his main point, namely, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and His Messiah. Indeed, there is enough in John’s “scroll,” as well as the other inspired Scriptures, to prove to the fullest satisfaction that “Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.”—Joh 20:30, 31.
Symbolic Use. There are several instances of symbolic use of the word “scroll” in the Bible. Ezekiel and Zechariah each saw a scroll with writing on both sides. Since only one side of a scroll was commonly used, writing on both sides may refer to the weightiness, extent, and seriousness of the judgments written in these scrolls. (Eze 2:9–3:3; Zec 5:1-4) In the vision of Revelation, the one on the throne held in his right hand a scroll having seven seals, preventing detection of what was written until God’s Lamb opened them. (Re 5:1, 12; 6:1, 12-14) Later in the vision John himself was presented a scroll and was commanded to eat it. It tasted sweet to John but made his belly bitter. Since the scroll was open and not sealed, it was something that was to be understood. It was “sweet” to John to get the message contained therein but apparently had bitter things for him to prophesy, as he was told to do. (Re 10:1-11) Ezekiel had a similar experience with the scroll presented to him in which there were “dirges and moaning and wailing.”—Eze 2:10.
“The scroll of life of the Lamb.” Idolatrous worshipers of the symbolic “wild beast” are not God’s choice for the associates of the Lamb. Hence, “the name of not one of them stands written in the scroll of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered,” and “from the founding of the world” of mankind it was determined that this would be the case.—Re 13:1-8; 21:27.
Scrolls of judgment and of life. John also observed that “scrolls were opened” and resurrected ones were “judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.” These scrolls apparently contain Jehovah’s laws and instructions setting forth the divine will for humans during that judgment period, and it is their deeds of obedience in faith or of disobedience to what is written in the scrolls that reveal whether they are worthy of having their names written or retained in Jehovah’s “scroll of life.”—Re 20:11-15; see LIFE.
‘Rolled up like a book scroll.’ At Isaiah 34:4, the prophet speaks judgment against the nations, saying: “And the heavens must be rolled up, just like a book scroll.” Evidently he here refers to the rolling up and putting away of a scroll after one has finished reading it. So the expression is a symbol of the putting away or doing away with that which is no longer of any use or value.